Last week’s article on the Ariel yearbook brought welcome attention to a serious concern: insufficient funding and staffing of this organization. The yearbook serves an important purpose: it commemorates our time at Lawrence, and serves as a resource to aid our memory. It is both sentimental and practical. Not only can it bring back memories of “the good ol’ days,” but it can help you remember the name of the person who sat behind you in lit analysis who perhaps can now give you a job.
As time passes, a yearbook’s value does not diminish, but increases.
Given a yearbook’s value, we should devote the necessary resources to produce a quality product. At many universities and most high schools, the yearbook is part of the curriculum; it is produced by journalism majors and is funded just like any other class.
Under that system, you get $80, 200-page, full-color, size 9 yearbooks with every amenity imaginable.
At Lawrence, however, the yearbook is produced by volunteers and funded by student government. We only get what we as students put into it. If lots of people help out and LUCC devotes sufficient funds, we get a good yearbook; if not, we get an inferior one.
In the past century, this method has worked pretty well; the yearbooks from the 1930s through the 1970s have been particularly excellent.
The past two decades, however, have seen a decline, especially in terms of student involvement. The 1972 yearbook was produced by a staff of 23, and the 2001 yearbook by a staff of nine or less.
All is not doom and gloom, however. The 2003 budget constrains us to a 160-page book without color, which means that a lot of good photographs are left out or less effective; however, the budget does represent a substantial increase from last year.
This increase allows us to distribute a free book to every student instead of the books being individually purchased. Instead of printing 450 books and selling them, we are printing 1,400 and giving them away. Hopefully, this new method will increase student involvement as more students see the results.
Another reason for hope is that, due to better organization and new talent, quality is on the rise. Although I may be biased, the 2002 yearbook was noticeably better, and the 2003 edition is shaping up to be quite good, although much remains to be done.
We still need more volunteers to get it finished, however. We need writers, photographers, and graphic designers who are motivated and ready to have fun. Any help would be appreciated.